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References. Most large companies will only give basic details (fine) what do you do with pushy agencies?

(4 Posts)
WideWebWitch Thu 21-Aug-08 20:23:03

I suspect the answer is "tell them to piss off". An agency called me today having found my cv online and said if I couldn't provide reference details she couldn't register me. I said "fine, don't then <shrug>".

I am prepared to provide details of everywhere I've worked, how long etc but I know that HR depts at these (large) companies have a policy of only providing confirmation of dates, pay and postion. They will not comment on my performance. She is welcome to write to HR depts asking for this, I have no objection.

But she was trying to push me for names and numbers of people I work for NOW and worked for in my last jog and NO WAY was I going to give it to her. She just wants a contact number and name at my present company so she can hassle them and has an 'in' to a call with them.

So I have given her details of the agent I'm working through now (who can confirm I'm there) and the agent who placed me in last perm job (who will confirm they placed me and I was a client for a while).

How do other people deal with this whole reference policy situation? If I had a job I REALLY wanted I'd ask current boss and old boss to provide 'personal' references, which they would do I'm sure. TIA for any thoughts.

HappyNewMum2Be Fri 22-Aug-08 14:10:38

Hi, it is a shame to say this, but you are right in a way. This is a method used to get hold of decision maker contacts, and a reference call if a very good way of building rapport and initiating a relationship with a company.

However, depending on the type of candidate I was dealing with, sometimes I would want the personal performance based references rather than the generic confirmation ones you mention.

For example, placing a finance director, nurse, professional contractor etc etc is very different to someone who perhaps works at a general level in a call centre, where staff turnover is high. Placing someone for temporary work again, is a different prospect than a permanent position. When a company was paying me anywhere from £5 to £20k to find the right person, I would not be able to represent a candidate who would not disclose their references to me in advance.

The NOW contacts, are totally unnecessary though, I agree with you there, and only after I had placed someone elsewhere would I ask for a referral or permission to contact their current employer. Most of the time, though, as I worked in a relatively small and tight nit sector, I knew most decision makers, and a lot of time candidates purely confirmed their relationships.

It does disappoint me slightly that some of my colleagues don't work in a professional manner. In my experience, the good ones are those that do, they last in the industry and can be spotted a mile off.

Stick to your guns and work with the professional consultants - it sounds like you know what you are doing.

Slacker Sat 23-Aug-08 11:51:09

Sounds like a typical agent fishing for sales leads - I don't know what area you work in but for IT contracting you never need to supply refs until you've been offered the job (except possibly for roles that require security clearance) - and often they don't take up refs at all even when the role is genuine

Read 'Dodgy Agent's posts on this thread

(DH has been IT contractor for years, has learnt how to deal with agents) smile

WideWebWitch Sat 23-Aug-08 17:00:14

Thank you both for these comments. I'm a finance contractor so fair enough to want to take references once I've been made an offer but not just to register me. It's an agency I know to be fairly aggressive so I suppose I'm not surprised. It got on my nerves on Friday though! Agree Slacker, I don't normally need to do this and many of the agents I deal with know me as I was previously their client so they don't ask cheeky questions like that.

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